After 5 new deaths in Nashville, could the safer-at-home order be extended?

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — On Tuesday, Mayor John Cooper announced five new deaths in Davidson County from COVID-19.

All were elderly patients with pre-existing health conditions. But as discussions move forward with how to reopen Nashville safely, will these deaths cause a setback?

“We are not interested in businesses being closed, we are interested in people being safe,” Cooper said.

Medical professionals said if we reopen the economy too quickly, it may cause a larger surge.

“If we all now go back out at once, and start doing what we normally did, the surge may be greater now because there are many more people now who are vectors interacting with all of us that have been sheltering at home. And there could be a huge explosion in cases,” Dr. James Hildreth said.

For now, the mayor’s safer-at-home order is in effect until Friday, May 8. But Cooper said a decision on whether to extend that is under review.

“We want to withdraw the order and move on to phase one. We’re at a delicate place in terms of the advance of the disease in the community,” Cooper said.

Cooper said during the Metro Nashville morning press conference on Tuesday that he will be discussing how is best to move forward with medical professionals on the COVID-19 task force within the next 24 to 48 hours.

But Dr. Hildreth wants people to know that we are not in the clear yet. Social distancing will have to be a necessary precaution despite reopening phases moving forward.

“I’m concerned that people are assuming we’ve reached the peak. When we haven’t reached the peak,” Hildreth said.

Lockeland Table Owner Cara Graham said she still wants to move at a slow and steady pace of reopening to not only protect the public, but her employees as well.

“We’re going to go on our own timeline,” Graham said. “We’re working with about an eight to nine week plan right now. We feel like we are sustainable for that much longer.”

The mayor recommends during this time of preparation, businesses look at their protective equipment needs and practices on how is best to protect the safety of others.

Stay with News 2 for continuing coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

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